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Kirov Jewels


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#16 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 04:33 AM

Well, it seems like this has been Daria Pavlenko's weekend, and Jewels is her ballet.

Friday night she led Diamonds, and last night she danced the Mimi Paul part in Emeralds, AND the Patricia Neary in Rubies. As with Diamonds, she was sensational in both. I don't think any NYCB dancer has ever "doubled up" like that in one night, and I rather doubt any NYCB dancer has ever had a lead in each Jewel ballet in her repertoire.

I'd rather liked Gumerova in the Neary, but after seeing Pavlenko I realized how wan and clueless Gumerova really was, as she was in Diamonds last night. Very beautiful legs and feet, but not much else going on. No gradeur.

In Emeralds, Pavlenko delicacy and deep-breathed phrasing didn't belie her inner strength and passion (I use that word a lot with her), and in Rubies she just dominated the stage, certainly commanding more attention than Golub, who was clean and dutiful, but not terribly interesting. Samodurov seemed more relaxed than Thursday night, but this still isn't his role.

Partnering Gumerova, Kursuntsev once again showed that there's more to being a danseur than pretty legs, especially if one lets one's feet flop around at the end of said legs. Not to mention almost killing one's self while landing from a double saute de basque.

I must say that overall the men didn't impress very much this visit, Kolb being the most interesting of a rather lacklustre lot.

#17 liebs

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 06:06 AM

I agree, the men were a disappointment. None of them really seemed to understand Balanchine musciality and their partnering technique made for some scary moments in the Swan Lake I saw. They also fail to straighten their legs fully much of the time and it makes them look heavy.

Is this the company that produced Baryshnikov?

#18 bobbi

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 09:49 AM

I already commented on the opening night Jewels and want to add an addendum about the closing night.

Emeralds:

It worked more for me than the opening night. And actually, the second ballerina role here (the "walking on point" role) was beautifully done by both Part on 7/18 and last night by Daria Pavlenko. This was the highlight of the entire evening for me; Pavlenko was exquisite. I suspect that role was so well done because one of the coaches was Karin von Aroldingen, who was herself a major and exemplary exponent of this role. Here, Karin von A had two major ballerinas to work with and imparted all her knowledge about the role to them. Boy, did it show! [I would digress about the value of coaching by the Balanchine ballerinas who danced the roles themselves during Balanchine's time, but that is for another thread. . . .]

Rubies:

Last night's lead was Irina Golub. What a charmer!! She was totally in control and in command of the part. Fun, fun, fun. Pavlenko came out again in the second ballerina role and, although I think she is miscast here as this role usually calls for a very tall girl, she was very enjoyable. Her rock solid arabesque penchee's as she exited quelled the audience into attentive silience. And -- a surprise here -- the lead male role was done by Viacheslav Samodurov, which was the same as opening night. I didn't care for him at all on 7/18, but last night he was perfectly fine and more so.

Diamonds:

Regrettably, Pavlenko didn't come out for a third time last night and do the lead in Diamonds (which I understand from other balletomanes who saw her last night was wonderful). The lead on closing night was taken by Sofia Gumerova. Her dancing was so out of shape that somone viewing Diamonds for the first time would wonder what the fuss was all about. Her partner, the stalwart of the Kirov run, Danila Korsuntsev, acquited himself very well.

General Notes:

This is one classy company. Just look at the way they stand in repose when others are taking their bows. Elegant, elegant, elegant. Thank the stars (or should that be the Tsars?) for this company!!

#19 Ari

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 11:39 AM

Thanks to everyone for your vivid accounts of Jewels. I wish I could have been there.

One minor point: Karin von Aroldingen danced the Verdy role in Emeralds, not the Paul (walking on pointe) part.

#20 bobbi

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 03:25 PM

Ari, I'm not sure you're right about Karin von A. doing Verdy's role. But then again maybe I just didn't describe the part I was referring to properly. In my memory, after Violette Verdy retired in the mid-seventies, the lead ballerina/Verdy role was taken over by Merrill Ashley and Stephanie Saland. I really don't remember Karin ever doing the first ballerina role, only the second, which is the one with the extended walking on pointe sequence. Since I am have too many senior moments lately though, I would appreciate other long-time NYCB-goers for their recollections on this point.

#21 Alexandra

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 03:51 PM

I can't take a Bible oath that K von A never danced the Verdy role, but I don't think she did. I also remember von Aroldingen in the Mimi Paul part -- for several seasons, both when Verdy was still doing the lead, and during the Ashley inter-regnum.

#22 Saveta

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 07:24 PM

If I'm not mistaken, I believe that it is von Aroldingen who is dancing the walking on points sequence (or "The Step Duet") on Dance in America video (selection from Jewels).

#23 Roma

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 06:39 AM

I was there Thursday and Friday.
Aside from the radiant performances of Ayupova, Pavlenko, and Vishneva, Jewels, though valiantly attempted, was not, as far as I am concerned, a great success. A far cry from the glowing performances given by Miami City Ballet last June. It seems to be a very fragile work, and perhaps the reason the ballets didn’t look quite right is because of who the stagers were. Nothing against Borne, von Aroldingen, and Leland, but Verdy, McBride, and Farrell they are not. Nevertheless, it was a good effort and I think it’s fantastic that the Kirov has it and other Balanchines in their regular repertoire. I just wish that they would import some coaching once in a while, but then I could say the same of NYCB.
The one thing that I found really annoying was the extensive bowing after the solos—it broke up the flow of the choreography.

I have to disagree about Part’s performance. I remember being very impressed with her in 1999, not so much in Apollo, but in Symphony in C where she was meltingly beautiful. This week… The two performances of the Mimi Paul part were sorely lacking in, well, just about everything. I don’t think she has the technique to carry it off--she had noticeable trouble in the solo on both nights, and in a ballet that’s all about arms her port de bras lacked any kind of refinement or even shape. There is a gorgeous step in the solo where she does a grand battement and goes down to the knee. It should be executed in one smooth breath and she broke it up into three different segments—up, down, to the knee—and that’s a question of both technique and musicality. And in that sweeping, dreamy solo she was actually flirting with the audience. Did she not hear the music at all? As the ballet went on I found her more and more grating—if she had rolled her eyes any more they would have fallen out of her head.

Ayupova on the other hand was just perfect. Her phrasing was so sensitive, and there is such a light about her when she dances. I love her, to me she personifies the very best of the Kirov training and style. And those gorgeous "cut from marble" arms…

Vishneva was excellent on Thursday, but maybe trying a little too hard.
Of Golub the less said the better. Gumerova in some bizarre way reminds me a little of Ansanelli, and I really enjoyed her delicate legs, but she completely lacked the power appropriate for the Patricia Neary role. She tried to substitute for it by lowering her chin, and looking at the audience from under a furrowed brow in the most menacing way she could manage, which was not very menacing at all. The men.. oh, the men. Both Samodurov and Fadeyev made me wonder why they couldn't tell the difference between subtle wit and the Three Stooges. On Thursday, Samodurov was still in his Don Q. mode, milking the ballet for laughs, and on Friday Fadeyev tried to counter his own delicacy by excessive aggression, going after every movement as if he wanted to strangle it. I found Korsuntsov less objectionable in Diamonds than in Swan Lake, but has he ever heard of plie?

Diamonds. Maybe Vaziev decided that his ballerinas are as rare a breed as yellow diamonds-- thus the brown-gold tutus ;) It bothered me a little on Thursday, but on Friday I didn’t even notice—I just couldn’t take my eyes off Pavlenko. From the second she stepped out on stage, I knew this was going to be very special. Technically and musically flawless she danced with such passion and such sincere joy (smiling to herself a little after difficult passages in the solos), with every bit of feminine grandeur the role requires -- it just left me breathless. Sensational--on a completely different plane of existence than anyone else on stage that evening. I am so sorry I missed her in Emeralds and Rubies but at least I got to see her in La Bayadere. For me she has been the greatest soloist delight and discovery of this season (And Ayupova, of course, but I’ve loved her for years)

On Thursday, Zakharova flowed beautifully through the shapes of the pas de deux, but again it looked like her brain wasn’t connected to the rest of her body. And what was going on with that permagrin in the variations and finale? She was smiling so much, I was afraid she’d hurt herself. And the extensions… In the very first supported developpe it looked as if she was going to stop her leg shoulder high—I almost let out a little sigh of relief—but no, up and up it went until she nearly hit herself in the head. A friend once called her La Radiostantsia, and was she ever right :).

#24 Dale

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 07:14 AM

This is what is great about ballet, everybody can see different things.

I thought Part was wonderful in Emeralds (but, I have to come clean, she's one of my favorites). One of the things that was interesting to me was that she was different on Thursday and Friday, and different from the way she's danced the role earlier. I agree with Roma -- the Kirov does not seem to take risks. You can't have everything, they are rehearsed very well and it shows in positive results. But it is fun to see a dancer vary their approach -- picking out something in the music to highlight one night, and then hearing something different on another night. In Washington, Part was a little lighthearted in the solo. Evidently, between performances she worked on the part with Paul and Thursday came out much more mysterious, to me at least, and didn't flash her trade mark smile until she bourréed across the front of the stage, opened her arms and had such a look of delight. I thought she was extremely smooth and dreamy, her arms embracing a cloud and her phrasing one long ecstatic sigh. Friday, she was a back to a more flirtatious mode, but it didn't bother me.

The pas de deux could have had more mystery, but I think von Aroldingen makes too much of the herky-jerky motions when she coaches it.

Ayupova was a little more up and down. On Thursday, to me, she started off a little choppy. I chalked it down to possible jet lag. She was performing in Giselle the week before in St. Petersburg while the other half of the company was here doing La Bayadere. But her solo was pretty and the second pas de deux lofty and delicate. However, on Friday it seems to me that it was reversed, she was much more at home in the opening and solo and more pose-to-pose in the later part of the ballet.

On Rubies, I'm sorry I didn't see Pavlenko in the Neary role as I was so happy after Part's Swan Lake, I gave my ticket away, wanting to end my season right then. The Kirov women -- Gumerova and Dumchenko -- have never to me gotten the part. Vishneva was beautiful in the McBride role, she just needs a little elegance to go with the showgirl. I agree with Roma in that the men seemed to miss the mark, opting for a slapstick, circuse tone. Fadeyev didn't please me at all.

Diamonds was just stunning. The corps is lovely in this, definitely making more of the opening than what used to seem like filler until Farrell (or Nichols and Kistler) came on. I enjoyed Zakharova's remote quality, and she danced on such a grand scale, I could only hope for a little risk taking here. I also thought by making so much of the, I think, three developpes she changed the climaxes of the long pas de deux. She triumphed with speed and brillance in the solo. Pavlenko took a more Swan Lake-like approach but was no-less stunning. However, on the tutu -- I did think that Pavlenko's was dirty.

#25 Roma

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 08:10 AM

Dale, thank you so much for your comments on Part. It really is amazing how two people can see the same exact performance and take away such drastically different impressions. But that's probably the best part:)
About Emeralds though. To me it is such a self-contained private world, and that's how it should be danced--as if unaware of the audience. (It's somewhat similar to the adagio of Bizet in this way). Part was very much aware of us watching her, and she showed it. Maybe that's what bothered me most about her performance. But then again, I often think that what we love (or not) about any particular dancer has less to do with his or her dancing, and everything to with his or her, shall we say, more metaphysical qualities. And that's not something one can argue with:).


The bodice of Pavlenko's tutu, by the way, really was dirty. I decided that Korsuntsov must've forgotten to wash his hands before going out on stage;)

#26 Manhattnik

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 08:21 AM

I do think Ayupova got better and better with each go-round. She didn't impress me much Thursday, but by Saturday night I was admiring her etched-glass delicacy. Part was good, but I agree she's not very strong; I wonder how she'll be used at ABT. Pavlenko, well, I already wrote about her!

Gumerova didn't impress me very much in Rubies or Diamonds; she really seemed to have no idea why she was there. Yet I'm fond of her. Maybe it's the mile-long legs (which she does work very, very well), or her endearingly gauche demeanor onstage. I don't know how old she is, but she seems very young and raw indeed. Once she gets some seasoning and maturity and stage smarts she could be quite the powerhouse.

I wouldn't change a thing about Vishenva's performance. She blew through Rubies like a toothy-smiled hurricane, and I think the ballet survived, and even benefited. All I could think was that Vishneva is exactly the kind of dancer Peter Martins loves -- she holds back nothing and throws caution to the winds. I wish he'd offer her a big wad of cash to jump ship, but considering how he let Meunier get away, I'm not holding my breath. There's certainly quite a Balanchine repertory at NYCB in which I'd love to see Vishneva.

As for Pavlenko, well, I'd love to see her at City Ballet, but where she might really be used to great effect is ABT. Yes, ABT's getting Part, and Part is a lovely, if limited, dancer, but Pavlenko seems to have fulfilled all the early promise she showed us here three years ago. (I mean, what other dancer has ever made Zulma's solo into something you actually notice? I still remember the chills I got down my spine from it! OK, she was pretty clueless in Apollo, but all the Kirov women were.) ABT's mix of dramatic and "pure" ballets would suit her to a T, I think, and she'd easily give Ananiashvili and Kent a run for their money as the "star" of the company. I've seldom seen a dancer command the stage the way Pavlenko does the instant she sets foot on it. Yes, she has great technique, musicality (and more taste than most other Kirov ballerinas we've seen), but she also seems to have a gift for sensing, almost intuitively, the unstated drama inherent in a given dance. I wonder how much coaching she really needed in Diamonds -- she dances it like she has always known what it's all about.

#27 Dale

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 09:18 AM

Ok, I got bounced off the computer I was on and I'm back, if only a bit later... :)

Roma, I understand your point about Emeralds being a contained world. Part did, it appeared to me, keep things more within herself at the start on Thursday, but her natural ebulliance broke through. She's a bit like Jenifer Ringer that way -- a Society Hostess of a ballerina, as Part was described once in Ballet Review.

Part also gets my kudos for the only dancer on stage to have quiet feet! When I was seating very close for Swan Lake, I think I noticed the Freed logo on the bottom of her shoes. Maybe she has one toe in her new world and one in the old.

I was not at all happy with the trio. The men were good enough, although Korsakov lacked the brio and bounce he showed in Washington D.C., but Yana Selena appeared more interested in smiling to the audience than executing the steps correctly. On Thursday, she fell behind half a bar, it seemed. And neither woman did the deep plie on either side of the male soloist. It's a move that is later echoed throughout the ballet.

Manhattnik, Vishneva certainly is ravishing. Golub, I thought kind of showed a lack of nuance as the lead on Friday, but I still enjoyed it. And that smile...I think I'm personally acquanted with everyone of her front teeth.

And I agree about Pavlenko, she gets right at the heart of a ballet and knows where each phrase is going.

#28 bobbi

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 09:28 AM

Manhattanik, in re-reading your post, I had forgotten to add to my post that yes, there was one NYCB ballerina who "doubled up" (as Pavlenko did on closing night). It was Merrill Ashley doing both the first ballerina role in Emeralds and the ballerina in Diamonds. There may not be a printed program on this because it was shown as a slip in the program with the usual reason "because of Illness/Injury." No senior moment for me here: she danced two major roles in Jewels on the same night.

Although I couldn't tell you the year, I vividly remember it because at the time I was working at the NYCB gift shop. At the end of the evening's performance, as our troop of volunteers was making its way backstage, we spotted Merrill outside her dressing room and lavishly contgratulated her on her feat. She said words to the effect that "she half expected them to knock on her door and ask her to do Rubies." And I will tell you that she danced full out (Merrill style) during both sections. Quite a trooper and a great lady!!!

#29 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 12:43 PM

Glad to hear Daria Pavlenko made such an impression. Interesting to note that in June 2000, during the London season, because of some acute ballerina shortage, she learned the Diamonds part in just one day.
Well, it's very nice to dream Manhattnik, yet in my opinion the only place where she really belongs is the Kirov - with all respect, but heaven forbid she should ever go to ABT :)

#30 Roma

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 06:53 PM

Marc, I'll second that!


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